“Where one is overcome, two resist and a cord of three strands is not easily broken.” The Lord really put this verse on my heart over the weekend (see Short and Sweet 3/25) so I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it. In context, the author of Ecclesiastes (where the verse comes from in case you were wondering) is remembering the wretched things he had seen in the course of his life. “I observed the acts of oppression” he says. “I also observed…the acts of wickedness at the place of judgment.” And the lonely man who struggles to build his wealth and maintain his riches who finally asks “Who am I struggling for?” In the midst of this the author describes the benefit of companionship. In companionship, should one fall the other may pick him up, and where one is overcome, two may resist.
In other words, “what good is your money if you have no one to keep you company?” And that’s great. But I have another question for you that Paul asked and you may have missed. “What good is your faith if you have no one to keep you company?”
I know there is a great tradition of faithful hermits who rejected society to better follow God, but I don’t get that. That strikes me as the greatest irony of Christian faith that someone can turn his back on those that Jesus loved in the hopes of coming to know Jesus better.
Think about it. “If I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
It isn’t that one person is easily overcome. One person without love is easily overcome. And we can talk about God’s love for us and yes that counts for a whole heck of a lot, but Jesus also told us “love one another as I have loved you.” And so it is the love between two people that allows them to resist and the love between three people that binds and weaves them into a cord that is not easily broken.
And if the world knows us by our love for one another, if we love each other as Jesus loves us, if we allow that to bind the church universal together, then I ask you how many strands are in that cord? How easily will that cord fray and fall apart?
Why is it that with a cord of millions of strands just waiting to be bound together, that each strand is convinced it must suffer and triumph alone?
Why does the church suffer, and fall, when there’s so many more than three?